A Russian patrol ship has been sunk in the Black Sea after being attacked by sea drones, according to Ukrainian intelligence.

Tensions in the Black Sea region escalated today as Ukrainian authorities reported that a Russian naval vessel belonging to the Black Sea Fleet had been sunk in a drone attack near the coast of Crimea. The incident marks a significant escalation in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

According to a statement issued by Kyiv, the attack was carried out by Ukrainian drones targeting the Russian vessel as it conducted military exercises in the Black Sea. The Ukrainian military claims that the drone strike successfully hit the Russian ship, causing significant damage and resulting in its sinking.

The Ukrainian government has condemned the incident as a defensive measure in response to what it perceives as aggressive actions by the Russian military in the region. “This strike sends a clear message that Ukraine will not hesitate to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity against any threat,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a televised address.

The sinking of the Russian naval vessel comes amid heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists.

The Russian government has yet to officially confirm the incident or provide any details regarding casualties or the extent of the damage to the sunken vessel. However, Russian state media have reported on the alleged drone attack, describing it as a “provocative act of aggression” by Ukraine.

The Black Sea has been a focal point of tensions between Russia and Ukraine, with both countries asserting their maritime rights and conducting military exercises in the strategically important waterway. The presence of Russian naval forces in the region has been a source of concern for neighboring countries and Western allies, who have called for restraint and de-escalation.

The sinking of a Russian naval vessel in a drone attack represents a significant escalation in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and raises fears of further violence and instability in the region. Diplomatic efforts to address the underlying issues fueling the conflict are likely to intensify as international stakeholders seek to prevent a further escalation of hostilities and restore peace and stability in the Black Sea region.

Published: 5th March 2024

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